What would have saved the women and children killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting? Men, says the National Review’s Charlotte Allen. In her contribution to the NRO’s “Newtown Answers,” Allen’s answer is that women are the reason that 26 people were killed that day.
There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable [sic] number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K-6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female. There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees. Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely. According to reports, she activated the school’s public-address system and also lunged at Lanza, before he shot her to death. Some of the teachers managed to save all or some of their charges by rushing them into closets or bathrooms. But in general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm. Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.
… Cops and everybody else encourage civilians not to try to defend themselves when they are criminally assaulted. This is stupid advice. There are things you can do. Run is one of them, because most shooters can’t hit a moving target. The other thing, if you are in a confined space, is throw things at the killer, or try a tackle. Remember United Flight 93 on 9/11. It was a “flight of heroes” because a bunch of guys on that plane did what they could with what they had. They probably prevented the destruction of the White House or the Capitol.
Allen acknowledges that Dawn Hochsprung heroically activated the school’s PA system and then lunged at Adam Lanza — before being mown down by his assault rifle. And yet a bucket-wielding male janitor or “husky” 12-year-old boy is expected to throw himself in front of a spray of gunfire, and that is supposed to save the day. In fact, there was a male custodian at the school who ran through the hallways, warning teachers about the gunman and giving them a chance to take cover. But he was meant to turn into a man of steel whose body can stop a bullet. That is the requirement for real heroism. That didn’t happen because of feminization.
Allen dismisses the teachers who herded their classes into closets and cabinets. They could have instead attacked Lanza head-on, at which point they would have been killed and their students would have been left vulnerable. There are doubtless several teachers who are wondering even now what would have happened if they’d tried to take out the shooter themselves. There are probably even some 10-year-old boys (Sandy Hook actually only goes through fourth grade, not the sixth) who wonder if they should have done something. If they should have been “man enough” to take Lanza on.
Sandy Hook first-grade teacher Kaitlin Roig says that as they sheltered in the bathroom, one of her students said, “I know karate, so it’s OK. I’ll lead the way out.” This is the thinking of a six-year-old. It’s the bravado of someone who thinks she knows better than law enforcement officers who have seen over and over again the results of untrained civilians who try to turn and fight instead of fleeing. To Allen, masculinity means throwing yourself wildly into the fray, senselessly risking your life and the lives of those around you because the wise course isn’t “aggressive” enough. Better dead than “feminized.”
It wasn’t a lack of men in Sandy Hook that resulted in those 26 deaths, and it wasn’t a lack of God. We don’t actually know what caused it, and we’ll probably never understand it entirely. But we do know that in addition to the 20 children who died at Sandy Hook School, 430 made it home to their families. Hochsprung, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, and the other teachers who placed their bodies between their students and an armed attacker acted just as bravely as any former high-school football player could have done. And to insult their heroism and the heroism of the teachers who saved their students’ lives by not doing the “masculine,” “aggressive” thing — to indicate that if they’d only been men the tragedy could have been averted — is ignorant and cruel and a reprehensible strike at a community that’s already taken more than anyone could expect them to take. Charlotte Allen, shame on you.